Pune Metro – Two mass transit plans mired in bad logic

PUNE: The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and the proposed metro rail will have a common alignment on at least three road stretches in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal limits.

While the metro will be on an elevated corridor, buses will run along the median of these roads. The metro and the BRTS, which are capital intensive projects are being implemented by the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations with central government funding under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

A 17-km stretch of a BRTS corridor is between Kothrud depot and Vishrantwadi. The same stretch has a 15-km metro corridor between Vanaz in Kothrud and Ramwadi. At least 8 km of the BRTS stretch and the metro corridor have a common alignment between Kothrud depot and Shivajinagar. On Karve Road, the metro and the BRTS will run together for one and half km between Paud phata flyover and Deccan Gymkhana.

Once the BRTS corridor construction begins, the Pune Municipal Corporation may divert traffic to the riverside road. The riverside road is being developed, so this can be used to avoid congestion on Karve Road. Municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak has asked us to find a solution for the traffic near Nal stop,” additional city engineer Vivek Kharwadkar said.

As for how both projects will be executed on Karve Road where the BRTS corridor will be along the median which will also support the pillars for the elevated metro, Kharwadkar said space will be required only for the BRTS stations. “There will be integration of the BRTS and metro projects,” he said.

Another stretch common to both BRTS and the metro will be between Pune railway station and Yerawada, and from Yerawada to Ramwadi. The Vanaz-Ramwadi metro route, as well as the potential BRTS corridor between Warje to Kharadi, will have some stretches in common for a distance of at least 10 km.

The civic body has already started construction of the BRTS corridor on Ahmednagar Road from Yerawada to Kharadi. Several bus stations have been built on this stretch.

The civic body’s officer on special duty for the metro cell, Shashikant Limaye, said the alignment of the metro corridor would undergo some minor modifications, if required. We are studying the situation,” Limaye, who recently took charge as the OSD, said.

Kharwadkar said the BRTS stretch on Ahmednagar Road will be made operational by June-end. We want the BRTS project on Ahmednagar Road to attract people. After this project is done, we will start work on the other BRTS corridors,” he said

In Pimpri Chinchwad, the metro corridor would begin from the municipal corporation building and run up to Swargate junction, a distance of 16.5 km. The elevated metro corridor will be to one side of the Mumbai-Pune highway stretch. The same stretch will have a BRTS corridor between Nigdi and Dapodi.

Between Dapodi and Pimpri, the metro and the BRTS will have a common run for four km. The civic body has begun work on the construction of the BRTS stations on the Nigdi-Dapodi stretch. Municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi, in February, had made an announcement during his budget speech that the BRTS will be made operational by January 2014.

Bapu Gaikwad, traffic engineer in the traffic planning cell of the PCMC, said the BRTS and metro in Pimpri Chinchwad will complement each other. “The elevated metro in Pimpri Chinchwad will be to the left of the highway stretch from Pimpri to Kasarwadi (from Nigdi to Pune). From Kasarwadi, the metro rail will be to the right of the highway, up to Pune. On the other hand, the BRTS corridor will be along the service roads of the highway stretch. It would take at least five years for the metro rail to become operational. Once the metro rail is completed, the BRTS operations may be withdrawn. The metro rail will be supplemented by feeder bus services,” he said.